Fuel Conservation: No War Needed

February 2007By Robert J. Kendra

Robert J. Kendra, who writes from Putnam, Connecticut, retired in 1995 after a 32-year career as a civil engineer.

The New Oxford Note "The So-Called War on Terror" (Nov. 2006) correctly concludes that "the war on terror is a delusion." But its analysis, which primarily blames Israel and the Israel lobby for the Iraq war, misses the mark. Israel's U.S.-supported, aggressive usurpation of Arab lands and persecution of Palestinians may contribute to Arab anti-Americanism, but has virtually nothing to do with our immoral invasion and occupation of Iraq, which is geared toward controlling Iraq's vast oil reserves.

Americans are addicted to the wasteful consumption of oil. Average per capita petroleum consumption in the U.S. is 26 barrels a year, compared to 12.5 barrels a year in Europe, and a meager two barrels a year in China. From the Civil War until World War II, we were the world's leading oil producer and exported surplus oil throughout the world. But U.S. production peaked in 1972 at 11 million barrels per day (mbd), is now 9 mbd, and is projected to decline further by 2020.

However, U.S. consumption is now 20 mbd and is projected to be 26 mbd in 2020. The increase in imported oil, therefore, will rise from 11 mbd to 17 mbd or greater to feed our insatiable and profligate use of petroleum.

Future imported oil must come from the Middle East, which has two-thirds of the world's known oil reserves, and will be the only region in the world with a significant surplus. Iraq alone has the world's second largest reserves, behind only Saudi Arabia, and its oil can be produced for less than $2 per barrel, compared to costs ranging from $6 to $15 in other parts of the world.

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The good to either the American man or the American Catholic has yet to be determined as obviously this venture by America has not yet concluded. However, if America doesn't get it's stuff together and bring it to a successful conclusion, there will be much to pay by the American man and the American Catholic. Posted by: wunsch
August 09, 2007 08:05 PM EDT
Americans as a whole are not ever going to "embark on drastic fuel-conservation measures." Americans are never going to vote for someone who wants to double the price of gasoline through taxes, or who wants to force everyone to drive around in a tinny econobox. What will happen is that eventually the price of oil will rise enough so that alternative sources of energy become economically viable. Until then (which may be decades), conservation efforts will make only a small dent in our gasoline usage (just like the thirty people who own hybrids in our town of 25,000 do).

As for terrorism, it will be there as long as it gets terrorists what they want (i.e., as long as it works). The only answer to it is to ensure that terrorists never get what they want - which means making the price of terrorism very, very, very high. Obviously, that price has not yet been raised high enough.
Posted by: luke
February 02, 2007 09:59 AM EST
luke has it right. However, it amazes me how people like Kendra can write such garbage and treat it as fact - it is his opinion and leads noone to any constructive objective. The Iraq war, whatever you think of it, is not an unjust war and terrorism is alive and well and very dangerous. People like Kendra,especially if they are in congress, are taking a dangerous path that will end up in many American lives lost down stream if implemented. This business of "Bush lied", "the war is unjust" etc. represents a thought process that is the antithesis of good Catholic and good American thought. Posted by: wunsch
March 08, 2007 09:32 PM EST
What good has been served to either the average American man, or Catholicism by the unjust war in Iraq? Americans didn't benefit one damn iota; while Iraqi Catholics (unmolested under Hussein's dictatorship) have fled for their lives. Posted by: Mike Ezzo
April 19, 2007 06:53 AM EDT
I have heard of this theory of high oil prices triggering R&D of alternatives. This would work in a classic free economy. However the oil cartel with the connivance of international oil are very sharp. They are careful to drop the price (usually by manipulation of supply) in order to prevent this development. Sooo, when you seemingly observe alternatives starting to develope in the market look for falling prices of oil. Now however with the demands of China and India perhaps this pattern will not hold. Unlimited production of oil at record price levels may be sustainable. Perhaps we will at last develope natural gas and nuclear fuel as we should have done back in 1974 when we had our first "wake-up call". But I have come to believe many love war and dependancy along with lazy citizenship. Posted by: martillo
April 15, 2008 02:41 PM EDT
Seems to me you're a wee bit off the mark on this issue, folks.

Oh, sure I'm all for conservation, but you must admit the whole world runs on oil. I'm reading stories that conflict with yours. My sources say that the USA is awash in underground oil reserves--- ie. Gulf of Mexico, ANWAR, the Florida Everglades, and shale oil out in the Dakotas through Wyoming.

It's the Greenies who are choking us! We've got the technology for a clean drill, but these people are blocking us. As a matter of fact, we haven't built a refinery in the US in over twenty years, and China, I understand, is putting one on line about every month!

Isn't funny that we rattle our sabre at Iran, and then we say a Rosary that these fools will keep pumping oil for us? Ditto for the Saudis and their funding of Hamas and AlQida. And I also notice that the bearded one, Fidel--or is it brother, Raul--Castro, is giving drilling rights to China, and they are slant drilling off the northwestern coast of Cuba, perhaps trying to hit the "Mother of all oil pockets" in the west--the Gulf of Mexico. And there's no reprisals against them!

We're not being defeated from without, we're being defeated from within!
Posted by: Pozzi
April 16, 2008 09:42 AM EDT
As we head into the 08 presidential election, not much has changed has it? Pozzi had it right and is still on target. Pelosi and the tree huggers just left on vacation while the energy debate? is still in waiting. Only difference is that the dem congress and Obama have made it clear where they intend to go if the people vote in the socialists. If that happens Pozzi, the defeat from within is on track. Posted by: awunsch
August 04, 2008 10:46 PM EDT
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